When Raiden first hit the arcades almost 20 years ago, there wasn't much to separate it from the dozens of other shooters that cost a quarter to play. It started its life as a standard, unexciting shoot-em-up. It was solid, but forgettable. Over the years, it's grown into more. More ships, more levels, more weapons. The game that started out as an afterthought in the genre has become one of its defining titles. The thing is, Raiden doesn't realize what it has evolved into. It's $20 price tag gives you the impression that Raiden doesn't think it's deserves to sit on the shelf beside Gears of War 2 or Prototype. But each of the three full games included on the disc are incredible examples of the shoot-em-up genre. Flawless graphics that were lifted directly from the arcade version with no 'next gen' effects added. Its lack of online coop play seems like it was left out in an attempt to not show off. Everything from the controls, to the design of the enemies, to the detailed online leaderboards shows that Raiden Fighter Aces is much more than it proclaims to be.
She's grown up all her life believing that she's not as good as the person next to her. When she recites how she was a geeky, awkward child, its almost like a mantra. She doesn't realize that she's no longer the clumsy teen who cowered under the ridicule of classmates. When she looks in the mirror, she sees the same reflection she's seen for years. The homely girl who wondered if people would see past her flaws. I see the confident person who's as comfortable in a boardroom filled with executives as she is in a sports bar yelling at a bad pitch.She doesn't see the piercing silver eyes and glowing smile that I recognize from a distance. While she still sees the child who didn't know what table to sit at during lunch period, I see the confident person who's as comfortable in a boardroom filled with executives as she is in a sports bar yelling at a bad pitch. She hears the voice of a kid struggling to find the words to express herself. I hear the forceful tone of a leader who knows exactly what she wants out of life and isn't afraid to tell you. Maybe years ago she really was this caricature that she describes herself as. But I've never met that person. The woman I know is impressive and witty and beautiful.
I realize its hard to see yourself as others see you . Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe those terrifying memories of being a graceless adolescent helps keep you humble. The trick is to know when those memories of the way you were are just that. Memories of the way you were.
One day she'll look in the mirror and see what I see. I hope its one day soon